Even wild and unruly rockers have softer sides.
When BTRtoday last chatted with The Mystery Lights back in 2016 they had just released their debut LP. Since then, they’ve been touring non-stop at home and abroad and have been working on getting their music out there (their song “21 & Counting” was on an episode of Shameless.)
Back then we called them “true-blue rock ‘n’ rollers,” “reckless” and compared their stage presence to the legendary mania of Iggy Pop. We’ve caught several of their shows, describing them as “magical events” to “lose control” over.
These guys usually get wild on the stage, with frontman Mike Brandon leapfrogging over amps and band mates while shredding on the guitar and hollering into the microphone.
This past Friday, however, was completely different.
Playing with angelic musician Haley Heynderickx, whose soft and passionate music makes you want to cry from emotional-overload, Mike Brandon exposed his sweeter side.
It was Brandon’s first solo set. He came to the stage with acoustic in hand and cleared his throat and the crowd got silent with anticipation. Before his first strum he confessed to the audience about how nervous he was to play such an intimate show. However, once he started nerves were undetectable.
He played a few covers (like the Scottish traditional song “The Parting Glass” and “Mindless Child of Motherhood” by The Kinks) and some Brandon originals (including a song entitled “Big Black Eyes” that he wrote when he was 16 years old) and slowed down a few Mystery Light songs. There were a few times you could tell that Brandon was holding back—the passion when he performs is palpable.
Letting only one jump escape him during the acoustic version of “21 & Counting,” this new side to Brandon seemed to blow everyone away.
When Heynderickx took the stage, the crowd seemed to have thickened so much so that you couldn’t even scoot out to the bathroom or bar without knocking someone over. Everyone wanted more and Heynderickx’s songs of life’s woes and heartbreaks satisfied that desire. The Portland, OR singer’s first show in NYC, she sang songs from her debut album I Need To Start A Garden, which comes out March 2 via Mama Bird Recording Co.
The best part of Heynderickx is that she’s not afraid to push her voice and experiment with what it can do. She’ll go from shrill and sharp to low and sultry in the drop of a hat. It keeps you on your toes and puts you in a world of wonderment.
With such great music playing, everyone exposed a little of themselves that night.